The web changes quickly. In the last few years we’ve seen huge changes in the way people access the web, and how businesses, artists, and authors use the web to their advantage. Everybody (and their mother) knows that social media is the hottest thing since hot lava, that mobile and tablet browsing is the here and now, and that apps and social media sites are the new websites.
Screeeeeeeeeeech! <–In case you’re wondering, that’s the sound of a needle scratching across a vinyl record.
You know that last thing I said–about social media and mobile apps taking the place of websites? That was a fib. I made it up. But sometimes it feels like many artists and small business owners think this way.
I’ll hear an artist say, “I don’t need a website. I’ve got a Facebook page, or Twitter, or Tumblr account.”
If you want to be taken seriously online, this is the wrong kind of thinking. And can hurt you down the line. Owning a domain name and a website that you call home is the most important part of establishing a web presence. Can you think a successful business that doesn’t have a website? There are probably some examples out there, but these businesses are probably not all that concerned with building an online reputation, while YOU, most likely, are.
Here are my top 5 reasons that building a home on the web matters NOW more than ever
1.Domain equity and search rankings
It takes time to earn traffic online. It can take years to establish optimal rankings in search engines. And Google likes websites and domains that have been around a while. Don’t expect to launch a new website and suddenly get handed a bucket full of relevant traffic form Google–it wont happen. But if you build a website that grows and matures along with your brand over time, you will gain an incremental increase in traffic from search engines. Sure, your Facebook or Twitter page may rank well on some search terms, but what happens when everybody leaves Facebook and goes somewhere else? Registering your domain name and starting your website now, is always better than later.
2. Having your own website means: You’re the boss
Social networks add-and-remove features all the time. They change designs, and make seemingly absurd changes in order to get more advertising dollars. All this can hurt your web presence and alienate fans. With your own website: you call the shots. You make the changes. You decide on the design.
3. Your website is a storefront
Before the internet (barring the occasional traveling salesman) you needed a physical storefront in order to sell something to the public. Even if you were selling merch at an event, you need to set up a table and be able to process transactions, etc.
The advantage of having a storefront is that people always know where to go to buy your stuff. And once a customer has been to your store, they generally know how to find their way back. It’s very similar online. If I want to buy something from Target, I go to target.com. It’s an easy storefront to remember. If I want to buy something from Amazon, I go to amazon.com. I wouldn’t go to Target’s Facebook page or Amazon’s Twitter page to buy socks. It wouldn’t make sense. Social networks and websites serve different purposes and that’s a good thing.
4. Apps will not replace websites
Smart phone apps are HUGE right? Seems like everybody is trying to cash in on the mobile app gold-rush these days. I know I’ve probably downloaded hundreds of apps since I first purchased a smartphone. It seems like people use apps more than they use the internet these days. Is it possible that apps are the new websites?
In a word: no.
Apps are utilities. They are designed to make our life easier and more fun. And if they’re worth their salt they probably cost thousands of man hours to produce.
A website is different. A website is not a utility, novelty, or a game. A website is a place of business. A website is where you communicate with your customers, grow your fan base, and sell your wares. Sure you could build a iPhone app that does most of these things, but your business would be confined to Apple’s rules and ecosystem. And then you’d need to build an android app, an iPad app, a desktop app and who knows what else to ensure you reach all your customers.
Websites are designed to be accessible by all devices and that’s reason enough right there.
5. A real website is the first step towards legitimacy
It’s true. A well designed website makes you look like you know what you’re doing. It will give journalists, bloggers, and other people in your industry a sense that you’re serious about what you do. It’ll show you care enough to put a little money and time into what you’re passionate about.
What are your thoughts on the importance of having your own website? Let us know in the comments below: